BOM: Epic amount of water about to hit Rockhampton
WHAT WE KNOW:
- BoM are predicting the Fitzroy at Rockhampton will continue to rise during the afternoon to near 9
- The Fitzroy height is currently about 8.75m
- The rises and falls in river height are a phenomenon called broad hydrograph
THE tortuous wait continues.
BoM hydrologists have warned Rockhampton residents for days about a bizarre phenomenon called "broad hydrograph" where the river rises and falls near the peak.
The Fitzroy at Rockhampton has already hit 8.8m before dropping to 8.75m, but BoM's latest warning, issued at 11.58am, warns the Fitzroy will continue to rise throughout the afternoon to near 9m.
Despite authorities declaring an 8.75m peak as of about 12.30pm, the Bureau of Meteorology's latest warning, issued at 12.20pm, states that the Fitzroy will continue to a peak near 9m this afternoon.
The phenomenon is already playing out in the Fitzroy at Rockhampton, with the river height hitting 8.8m before dropping to 8.75m.
The Bureau of Meteorology's regional hydrology manager, Victoria Dodds says the river will continue to rise.
"The equivalent of four Gabba stadiums full of water will pass through Rockhampton every five minutes at the peak," Ms Dodds said.
"This will be the fifth largest flood at Rockhampton in recent history. The largest was in January 1918 at 10.1 metres.
"While this places the level of 9 metres below that of 1954 (9.4 metres), and below that of 2011 (9.2 metres), major flooding is still expected for the Fitzroy River at Rockhampton, and local emergency services anticipate a number of homes and business will be inundated," said Ms Dodds.
The Bureau of Meteorology's regional hydrology manager, Victoria Dodds says the river was at 8.8m at 9am and will continue to rise over the next couple of hours.
Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) chairman councillor Tony Williams addressed media this afternoon, welcoming the downgraded prediction.
"9.4m was sending shivers through our community and we will take anything below that, 8.75m is such a huge relief," he said.
"What they are telling us now is about 24 hours the river will remain at that height, then start to reduce below major flood levels and rapidly reside over weekend," Cr Williams said.
Initial predictions forecast a peak of 8.5m, before that figure dramatically jumped to 9.4m, then back to 9m.
The Morning Bulletin are working to clarify a definite flood peak.
Cr Williams attributed the varying predictions since ex-Cyclone Marcia bucketed over the Ftizroy catchment to the systems size, and the fact a number of gauges were damaged as flood waters surged through.
He expects the "arduous clean up" to wrap up in five to six days, but it may be years before the true cost of the natural disaster is known.
Cr Williams stressed businesses especially were still recovering from ex-Cyclone Marcia in 2015, and this latest blow would have a knock-on effect to the community.
The LDMG are currently in discussions with the Australian Defence Force to assist with the Rockhampton Airport clean up.
"It's a critical piece of infrastructure... we need to get it up and running," Cr Williams said.
"We want business and tourism operators to say Rockhampton is back and open for business as soon as possible."
Cr Williams said the majority of households impacted are in Depot Hill, but there were also homes affected on Rockhampton's north side.
Across the city 217 homes had water over their floorboards, 3000 residences and businesses have been impacted by this flood and 375 were without power.
Ergon have begun reconnections, and will continue once the water recedes.
Cr Williams said he believes the community have been more informed throughout this event than previous floods.
"The reason we work so well is we had that experience," he said.
"In 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 - every second year we come together and make our community safer."
With previous floods driving up insurance premiums for Rockhampton residents, Cr Williams expects this would again be the case and used it as a springboard to stress the importance of flood mitigation.
Amazing NASA images of the Fitzroy catchment from space |